For I can snore like a bullhorn or play loud music or sit up talking with any reasonably sober Irishman and Fergus will only sink deeper into his dreamless sleep, which goes by all in one flash, but let there be that heavy breathing or a stifled come-cry anywhere in the house and he will wrench himself awake and make for it on the run—as now, we lie together, after making love, quiet, touching along the length of our bodies, familiar touch of the long-married, and he appears—in his baseball pajamas, it happens, the neck opening so small he has to screw them on— and flops down between us and hugs us and snuggles himself to sleep, his face gleaming with satisfaction at being this very child. In the half darkness we look at each other and smile and touch arms across this little, startlingly muscled body— this one whom habit of memory propels to the ground of his making, sleeper only the mortal sounds can sing awake, this blessing love gives again into our arms.
The 26th of December
A Tuesday, day of Tiw,
god of war, dawns in darkness.
The short holiday day of talking by the fire,
floating on snowshoes among
ancient self-pollarded maples,
visiting, being visited, giving
a rain gauge, receiving red socks,
watching snow buntings nearly over
their heads in snow stab at spirtled bits
of sunflower seeds the chickadees
hold with their feet to a bough
and hack apart, scattering debris
like sloppy butchers, is over.
Irregular life begins. Telephone calls,
Google searches, evasive letters,
complicated arrangements, faxes,
second thoughts, consultations,
e-mails, solemnly given kisses.